Padang (Indonesia): Already out of contention for a knock-out berth, Churchill Brothers ended their AFC Cup campaign on a disappointing note as they were handed a 1-3 defeat by Semen Padang here on Wednesday.
Liberian striker Edward Junior Wilson struck in the 24th and 64th minutes while Titus Bonai found the target for the Indonesian Premier League champions in the 47th minute at Agus Salim Stadium.
Bineesh Balan pulled a goal back in the 49th minute for Churchill, who fielded a second string team for the inconsequential match by leaving out key players in view of their title race for the I-League.
The match also saw Churchill`s Naveen Kumar being sent off in the first minute of the second half.
Semen Padang topped Group E with 16 points from six matches while Churchill finished third with four points from six matches. Two teams qualify for each group for the pre-quarterfinals.
Wilson opened the scoring with a superb solo goal midway through the first half before Bonai`s free-kick doubled Semen Padang`s lead at the start of the second half.
And after Bineesh Balan pulled a goal back for Churchill Brothers, another eye-catching solo effort from Wilson sealed the home side`s fourth win of their campaign.
Despite Semen Padang already having secured their place in the last 16 as Group E winners following an impressive maiden AFC Cup campaign, the home side dominated for long periods of the first half against already-eliminated Churchill Brothers with captain Ellie Aiboy, Vendry Mofu, Wilson and Bonai all coming close to a breakthrough for the home side.
And after 24 minutes Semen were finally rewarded as Wilson skipped past several Churchill Brothers defenders on the edge of the penalty area before guiding a low strike into the bottom corner past goalkeeper Lalit Thapa.
Semen Padang`s chances were further boosted just three minutes into the second half as Churchill Brothers defender Kumar was shown a straight red card after bundling over Mofu just outside the penalty area with the midfielder attempting to chase down a hopeful long ball forward.
And from the resulting free-kick, Bonai doubled Semen Padang`s lead as the striker expertly guided the ball over the wall and past Lalit.
Churchill Brothers, though, responded just three minutes later as Balan beat Semen goalkeeper Fakhrurrazi to Yumnam Raju`s low left wing cross to poke the ball into the back of the net at the near post.
But 15 minutes later, another superb solo effort from Wilson restored Semen Padang`s two-goal advantage as the Liberian cut in from the right side of the penalty area before coolly guiding his shot across Lalit and into the net via the inside of the far post.
Churchill Brothers, though, were unfortunate not to set-up a tense final 10 minutes as a free-kick from captain Jaison Vales crashed into the face of the crossbar with Semen Padang goalkeeper Fakhrurrazi rooted to the spot.
We're building him (RvP) up now because of the World Cup. It’s a pity but we have to or he’ll never be fit.
Louis van Gaal